Agricultural and natural resource systems are inherently complex and are influenced by social, economic, and environmental pressures as well as changing climates. Improving these systems has become increasingly challenging for the development community and the people it serves.
In recent years, there has been a growing dialogue within the development community about how best to design more adaptive agriculture and natural resource management (NRM) programs, as well as what tools and trainings can develop the flexible, dynamic and holistic thinking skills needed to effectively respond to and manage change.
This paper focuses on how to develop adaptive thinking, a fundamental building block for dealing with change. Drawing on research and interviews with program implementers, it outlines ways to foster adaptive thinking, addresses key challenges, and proposes solutions for wider adoption. By designing flexible programs, focusing on transformational learning, and promoting a culture of openness to change, organizations and communities can help increase the efficiency of agricultural interventions and promote enhanced resilience of the overall system.